BUI Featured Stories

We solve some of the most technically complex problems in the world. As leading experts in the field of Identity and Security solutions, we have an arsenal of experience. Find out some of the innovative ways that our services has helped businesses across South Africa by browsing through our case studies.

Bidvest Panalpina Logistics

South African logistics experts transform operations with an agile move to cloud

Customer
Bidvest Panalpina Logistics
Year

2017

Products and Services
  • Azure Backup
  • Azure Site Recovery
  • Azure StorSimple
  • Office 365
  • Operations Management Suite
  • SharePoint
Industry
  • Logistics

South African logistics experts transform operations with an agile move to cloud

Logistics moves fast and relies on seamless data transfer to do so. Bidvest Panalpina Logistics, faced with an accelerating marketplace, needed to modernize its data center to stay ahead of the curve and become more agile. A simple Azure solution took BPL to the cloud and beyond, and is set to save the company a significant amount of money. The move has sparked a complete culture change at Bidvest Panalpina Logistics, with a newly empowered workforce able to take on more challenges than ever.

South African Bidvest Panalpina Logistics (BPL), part of the Bidvest group, employs around 1,400 people and is a leading provider of end-to-end supply chain solutions. This includes global air, ocean, warehousing, road transport and customs broking in most major industries. Over a century old, the company is at the cutting edge of one of the world’s most dynamic industries. And dynamic goes hand in hand with competitive.

BPL’s aging data infrastructure was struggling to keep up with the demands of a growing industry. Faced with an accelerating marketplace, the company felt the time was ripe to transition to the cloud. Also, as Bidvest’s chief IT innovators, Bidvest Panalpina Logistics was undertaking a dual role in piloting a transition approach for the rest of the group.

The need to update was clear to IT operations and infrastructure manager Morne Visser. “We started running into performance issues, and we actually had to make a decision at that time if we should invest in a new solution that we host on premise or if we should go with the cloud option.”

Peak periods

Agility was key for any new system BPL would install. That, and a track record for reliability and security. The process was to begin with bringing the data center up to date in answer to mounting customer demand. “Our industry has various peak periods,” Morne says. “We have financial year ends and peak periods where customers need to make use of our workloads.” At times like this, BPL struggled to keep up due to lack of resources.

As well as modernizing the data infrastructure, there was a pressing need to remove key dependencies around disaster recovery (DR) and security. “Our DR solution was not working so well,” Morne notes. “We had a couple of failures and replication was cumbersome.” So cumbersome in fact that recovery and DR dry runs were taking up to seven days to complete under the supervision of six people.

Unreliable power supply and bandwidth costs are also issues in South Africa, both of which can leave the company at the mercy of unscheduled outages. To get around this, BPL wanted to roll out a full-scale migration. That meant everything from exchange and customer data, to shipment and customs information—all running through the cloud.

A clear choice

Microsoft Azure was the clear choice for BPL, with its combination of easy migration tools and complete recovery suite. BPL already had a long-standing 15-year business relationship with Microsoft partners BUI, who led the implementation. Morne says it was a simple decision for BPL. “We understood how they worked and they understood our industry and organization.”

Using Azure as its jump off point, the way was clear for BPL to make the move from a less responsive, monolithic CAPEX model to a more agile OPEX format with flexible costing. “Looking at all the benefits, the cost and the current agreement, we made an informed decision to move our production workload, DR and offsite replication to MS Azure,” says Morne.

With the decision made, migration was surprisingly straightforward. The first step was to modernize the data center infrastructure and rebuild the backup, retention and DR system without upsetting the everyday workflow.

Delays are inconvenient in any industry. In logistics, they can be disastrous, with port overstay fines mounting, expensive freight aircraft redirection and more. Creating a better workflow had huge potential for savings.

Without a hitch

Through a combination of the existing virtualization environment, hybrid cloud services in Azure, and supporting software like StorSimple, Azure Backup and Azure Active Site recovery, the process came off without a hitch. And it only required one member of the IT team to oversee it.

The second phase, which the team called “lift and shift,” was a direct move of the on-site virtual environments using Azure Site Recovery. They used Operations Management Suite to monitor the process from a governance and security perspective.

One of the most immediate benefits of the migration has been to BPL’s five-strong IT team. The move to the cloud has significantly streamlined their workload, allowing them to upskill and apply their talents in other ways.

An end to delays

Morne has noticed a huge uplift in efficiency as well. “Our admin has reduced quite a lot versus looking after the infrastructure and everything on premise. It’s a huge benefit for us.” BPL is already projecting a saving of 35 million rand (US$2.7 million) over the next five years as a result of the migration.

Users across the company also see value from an updated exchange system and fresh access to Office 365. While the system remains unchanged on the front end, users are already enjoying boosted capacity and speed on the backend. This has put an end to delays and contributed to improved efficiency.

“People were afraid to take that first step,” says Morne. “It was an unknown. As we progressed with the project, and adopted it along with Office 365, SharePoint and the other collaboration tools, the company culture actually changed. Now everyone asks if projects are going to be cloud based.”

The road ahead

Looking to the future, BPL wants to complete the rollout to a fully cloud-based approach. Morne notes that “as we started implementing services in Azure, we realized there were more services we could make use of.” This has led to a commitment to shift other services like SQL and data warehousing to the cloud as well.

According to Morne, “the ongoing support and innovation from Microsoft” will be playing a large part in BPL’s plans for future technology decisions.

The company culture actually changed. Now everyone asks if projects are going to be cloud based.

Morne Visser: IT Operations and Infrastructure Manager
Customer
George Municipality
Year

2017

Products and Services
  • Azure App Service
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Azure Application Gateway
Industry
  • Local Government

Mobile APP on Azure launches for George

George Municipality took advantage of the massive growth in the use of cellphones in South Africa and launched a groundbreaking Municipal APP in 2017. The APP allows for easy and direct communication with the municipality, increases citizen engagement to enable effective and relevant service delivery. The App is basically platform independent and works on Web “HTML”, Android “JAVA”, IOS “Swift or objective-C” and more.

To fulfill the smooth delivery of these important civic duties, it relies on availability of the APP – software that is now easier and cheaper to support after a strategic move to Microsoft cloud swiftly carried out by a trusted Microsoft Partner, BUI.

Business Challenge / Innovation

Budget constraints are common in the public sector and finding inventive ways of provisioning tech services to help taxpayers has become a necessity for administrators.  George Council committed to transparent and accessible communication with it’s citizens. The APP provides an additional communication channel for the public to make use of and gives its citizens a real opportunity to take an active part in municipal processes.  The need and strategy to start moving certain workloads from on-premises datacenters to Azure was an obvious choice with immediate benefits. Migrating a high-performance Application to Azure with zero downtime and continually protecting customer data is of the utmost importance.

Benefits

By migrating to the Azure platform, George Municipality improved its business by exposing Azure’s development ecosystem to the larger Microsoft intelligent cloud. This resulted in immediate cost savings, improved uptime, better flexibility and integration, and superior performance. They also found the Azure platform user-friendly, and are now reaping the rewards of accessing the most secure cloud platform in the world.

This is just the start for this APP, and George intends to provide many new features that will, amongst other things, allow citizens to view and pay their municipal bill from their phone or any device they access the APP from. To manage authentication and identity, the APP requires the user to register with their phone number and password.

Microsoft Azure was chosen because it provides better integration than the other services that were considered, and because it already has a local presence, with data centres being set up in South Africa as well as previous investments with Microsoft. At this stage George is using the PaaS model, and looking to expand in the near future. Enterprise PaaS provides a self-service portal for managing computing infrastructure from centralized IT operations and the platforms that are installed on top of the hardware.

Other Customer Benefits include

  • Infrastructure as Code
  • Continuous integration / Continuous delivery
  • Test, staging, and production environments

This is service delivery truly taking place in the palm of your hand

Vicky Bridge: George ICT Manager
Customer
Bidvest Panalpina Logistics
Year

2017

Products and Services
  • DC Migration to Azure
Industry
  • Logistics

DC Migration to Azure

Business Problem

Bidvest Panalpina Logistics was up for a data center refresh but where looking to reduced operational overhead and reduce costs on the Data Center go forward.

Process

Customer made the decision to move the Data Center into Azure.

BUI where contracted to Migrate from VMWare to Hyper-V on premises, then migrated entire data center in Azure

Deliverables

  • Azure discovery and best practices
  • Scope solution with customer
  • Migrated Data Center
  • Reduce on-premises foot print

 

Cloud Strategy Defined

Assessment of the on-premises environment and workshop to define migration strategy

Cloud Methodology

Cloud Methodology defined and tested.

Technical Roadmap

Defined technical requirements and design documentation

Azure Migration

Migrate workloads from VMWare to Hyper-V on-premises, once completed, all workloads where migrated into Azure.

Customer
Lonrho
Year

2017

Products and Services
  • Azure Consulting
  • Logistics
Industry

Azure Consulting

Business Problem

Determine the best practices for backup and disaster recovery in Azure for Lonrho.

Process

BUI conducted an Azure Workshop with Lonrho to determine their backup and DR requirements. DPS and Azure Backup was used to backup to Azure.
VMs were then replicated to Azure using ASR, a DR plan created and a DR test run.
Deliverables

  • Azure discovery and best practices
  • Single Workload identified – Azure Backup and DR
  • Backing up of 3 systems and ASR of 2 critical servers to Azure
  • DR Test

Key Customer Benefits

  • Cloud Backup Strategy Defined – Testing two different backup software, determining the correct backup tools and strategy for Lonrho
  • Disaster Recovery Methodology – Disaster Recovery Methodology defined and tested
  • Cloud Roadmap – Defined high level 12-month roadmap to measure their cloud adoption progress
  • Presentable Cloud Strategy – The IT department has a presentable Cloud Strategy and Roadmap for the next 12 months with supporting documentation
Customer
The Spar Group
Year

2017

Products and Services
  • Cyber Security Consulting Services
Industry
  • Retail

Cyber Security Consulting Services

Business Problem

The Spar Group wanted to discover their potential risks with a view to upgrade their security posture. At the same time wanted to better understand how they could better utilize various workloads from the Microsoft Cyber Offerings Suite.

Process

BUI completed a Cyber Security vulnerability assessment of the 20 CIS Control Framework and analyzed the findings

Findings and Recommendation

BUI identified that the configuration and classification of the business assets were not as secure as it should be which exposed the critical business assets to attack. BUI provided recommendations that enabled Spar to utilize investments already made and gain increased resilience at minimal cost

Key Customer Benefits

  • Azure Active Directory – Enhancing previous investments, Azure Active Directory management tools pushes identity protection into the next layer
  • Operations Management Suite – A blind spot was identified when it came to visibility and control across the hybrid cloud and VMs, as well as custom dashboards
  • Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics – Gaining deeper insight into Suspicious activity across the Domain Controllers as well as devices was identified during the Assessment as a major risk to Spar. ATA ticks that box.
  • Microsoft Intune – Spar has a large mobile workforce. Defining a mobile management strategy was the first step to enable employees with the devices and apps they choose. Deploying Intune to manage and protect company information was the second step.
Customer
The Spar Group
Year

2017

Products and Services
  • Cyber Security Pen Testing
Industry
  • Retail

Cyber Security Pen Testing

Business Problem

The Spar Group wanted to discover their potential risks with a view to upgrade their security posture. At the same time wanted to better understand how they could better utilize various workloads from the Microsoft Cyber Offerings Suite.

Process

BUI completed a Cyber Security vulnerability assessment of the 20 CIS Control Framework and analyzed the findings

Findings and Recommendation

BUI identified that the configuration and classification of the business assets were not as secure as it should be which exposed the critical business assets to attack. BUI provided recommendations that enabled Spar to utilize investments already made and gain increased resilience at minimal cost.

Key Customer Benefits

  • Azure Active Directory – Enhancing previous investments, Azure Active Directory management tools pushes identity protection into the next layer
  • Operations Management Suite – A blind spot was identified when it came to visibility and control across the hybrid cloud and VMs, as well as custom dashboards
  • Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics – Gaining deeper insight into Suspicious activity across the Domain Controllers as well as devices was identified during the Assessment as a major risk to Spar. ATA ticks that box.
  • Microsoft Intune – Spar has a large mobile workforce.. Defining a mobile management strategy was the first step to enable employees with the devices and apps they choose. Deploying Intune to manage and protect company information was the second step.

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